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THE BUSINESS TRAVEL ISSUE Kick off your year with our round-up of travel specialists, from TMCs and chauffeur firms, to train lines and venue finders

PA PROFILE Abi Sangster, executive assistant to Mary Portas

HOW TO... Prepare travellers for Brexit Get the most out of trade shows

THE ‘C’ WORD A look into how employers can support staff with cancer

PLUS… Hays shares the findings of its 2018 Salary Survey

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EDITOR’S LETTER It’s already 2019 – where did the last year go? I do hope you all enjoyed a well-earned break, but there’s no rest for the wicked here and I can’t wait to get stuck in to meet industry friends – old and new – at the many upcoming shows this year. PA Life starts a notoriously busy Q1, heading to the Business Travel Show, Academic Venue Showcase, Conference and Hospitality Show and the international expo IMEX. Plus, we will be returning to The PA Show in February where we are launching the PA Life Masterclasses, encompassing all seminar programmes. Before the event make sure you don’t miss out on our discounts to these sessions, which are all CPD accredited. More details on these can be found at palife.co.uk. We’ll also be hosting some networking drinks over on the keynote stage on day one of the show at 2.30pm, where previous PA Profile star Elizabeth Mendes Da Silva, EA at Barclays, will discuss the power of body language over a glass or two of bubbles. If you’re attending any of the industry expos and would like to grab a coffee, please drop me a line at jade.burke@palife.co.uk so we can set up a meeting! The past few weeks have been incredibly exciting on the editorial desk, as I got the chance to interview TV personality Mary Portas. Having spoken to numerous PAs about their relationship with their bosses, I was keen to switch the tables and find out what an exec like Portas looks for in an assistant. Make sure you read her thoughts on page 11.

“The past few weeks have been incredibly exciting on the editorial desk, as I interviewed TV personality Mary Portas.” This also leads onto our PA Profile star; Abi Sangster, who is the EA to Portas. On page 11 I caught up with her to discuss why she never wanted to become an assistant, how she works with someone in the public eye and what nuggets of advice she has for EAs. Business travel is one of the biggest tasks for a modern PA, which is why we have compiled a complete guide featuring some of the latest travel management companies (TMCs), luxury retreats and chauffeur firms. Check out the full guide over on page 21. World Cancer Day took place on February 4, and on page 38 we take a look at how the PA community can support colleagues living and working with cancer. I also heard from the event director of Confex 2019, Liz Agostini. On page 41 she gives me the lowdown on the upcoming show. I am also thrilled to say that the March/April issue of PA Life will mark our 50th edition, where we will be highlighting some of the industry’s best suppliers. So, do you have what it takes to feature as one of PA Life’s Top Recommended Suppliers? Let us know now! Plus, now is your chance to tell us exactly what you think of the PA Life brand – make sure you share your thoughts with us online here: surveymonkey.co.uk/r/5QQJLPQ All this and our regular features, including Tried & Tasted, City Guide, Checking In, PA Life Club news and more makes for an interesting read for our loyal audience. Jade Burke, Editor



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Taking the plunge Our resident columnist, Declan Halton-Woodward, shares his thoughts on why he believes more of us should find our passion in life and ‘make the plunge’.


PA Profile Abi Sangster, EA to Mary Portas, and her boss share their thoughts on their working relationship in this issue’s PA Profile.


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Business travel Booking travel more often than not falls onto a PA’s shoulders, whether that is finding a chauffeur, sourcing travel insurance or purchasing the correct visa. We highlight some of the latest business travel suppliers in the arena to help ease the process for assistants.


What are you worth? PA Life exclusive: Hays’ Roddy Addair shares his insight on the latest Salary and Recruitment Survey, and what changes professionals can expect to see this year.


Checking in: The Grand, Brighton With a number of meeting rooms and conference facilities on-site, The Grand boasts everything a corporate traveller could need, all in the heart of Brighton.


The ‘C’ word at work We speak to the PA community, as well as Macmillan Cancer Support, about what more employers and employees can do to support staff who have been diagnosed with cancer in this insightful feature.

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Heading to Confex? Event director, Liz Agostini, reveals what the return of this international event has in store for attendees to Olympia, London and why technolgoy is at the center of the 2019 event. Tried & tasted: Immersive dining Enjoying some theatre with your meal, such as singers, performers or even live chefs can make all the difference to a team outing or client dinner. We round up some restaurants that are offering some thrilling entertainment, all in the heart of London.

EVEN MORE ON THE WEBSITE Check out all the latest news online via our social channels This issue we welcome our PA Life Club Sponsors, as well as highlighting some key events members should not miss out on.

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Face the facts Latest insight into the issues facing office support workers across the UK

Is hugging harassment? If you were told you had to hug your boss, would you consider it a form of harassment? Following the news that Ted Baker employees have signed a petition to stop the company’s ‘forced hugging’ policy, we asked our followers. 60 per cent of you shared that you wouldn’t feel comfortable, while 20 per cent of you thought it could become too much. In comparison, 20 per cent said you might be okay with regular embraces.

Career move The first working Monday of a New Year has seen web traffic spike year-on-year, as employees seek out a new job to inspire them. We asked our PA Life Twitter followers whether they felt the same. 50 per cent of you claimed you already had your dream job, while the other 50 per cent said they had a quick browse to weigh up their options.

Microchipping staff After The Telegraph reported that Swedish firm Biohax was considering implanting staff with microchips, we wanted to ask our followers if they’d be happy to be microchipped. Unsurprisingly, 80 per cent of you would never consider it, meanwhile 20 per cent would allow their company to microchip them.

Embracing Veganuary Forget Dry January, Brits are now converting to Veganuary in a bid to reduce their meat intake and promote a healthier lifestyle. We wanted to see if our Twitter followers could do the same. Half of you claimed you couldn’t give up on meat, while the other half said they would need to include fish in their diet.



Beating the blues The start of the New Year can be a daunting prospect, causing many of us to feel underwhelmed, so what can we do to banish the blues? Jade Burke, editor of PA Life, tells us more

With ‘Blue Monday’ out of the way, where employees are known to search for holidays abroad and dream of warmer climes, it’s important to find a form of escapism. Jade Burke

Returning back to your desk after time off is no easy feat for anyone, especially when you throw Christmas into the mix and the party season that is New Year’s Eve – I admire anyone who jumped out of their bed on the morning of January 2nd. I think I heard the words ‘I can’t wait for summer’ and ‘it’s so cold’ around 20 times on the first day back in the office. With ‘Blue Monday’ out of the way (this takes place on the third Monday of January and is claimed to be the most depressing day of the year), where employees are known to frantically search for holidays abroad and dream of warmer climes, it’s important for us all to find a form of escapism. It’s easy to feel a little down in the dumps at the start of a New Year – you may have spent more than you intended to over the festive period, you might have eaten one too many mince pies, or perhaps you dreaded returning to your job after a well-earned break from emails, internal meetings and packed schedules. However, we must kick those feelings to the curb if we are to enjoy the next 12 months. It’s having something to look forward to that gets us through the bleak month that is January. I have already booked in an obligatory weekend spa break with some friends at the end of February, and it’s these little getaways that help us look forward to the months ahead. Treat time can make all the difference, whether that is scheduling in a visit to a friend’s, cooking your favourite meal or booking a short holiday; nuggets of fulfilment can make all the difference when trying to beat the January blues. Even considering a New Year’s resolution provides a great distraction from the dark mornings and chilly weather. If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, train for the London marathon or upskill yourself, now is the time. So, what are you waiting for?


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Have you found your passion in life? Tweet us @PALifeMag

Taking the plunge Finding your passion and having the confidence to follow it through does not always come easily, however Declan Halton-Woodward, EA to CEO at Handlesbanken Wealth/Heartwood, believes more of us should take the plunge

Depending on your role, your passion might be a particular task or duty; you might not even realise what it is you love. Declan Halton-Woodward


I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, despite my heavy Catholic schooling. I would like to say it’s that I have no vices to give up, but I think it’s simply that I have no self-control. I am also not one for the ‘New Year, new me’ hype – I find it a fad that never lasts. That said, I wonder if I could implore everyone to do something in these first few months – find your passion. The world would be a better place if we all found our passion. This could be a role, an industry, a task, even a person, but we need to seek it out. It’s not as easy to find as it sounds, but the best way is to discover it is over time. You don’t need to know right away, but in the back of your head, think about what it is that drives you. In our world, a lot is expected of us, but when you work for someone who truly inspires you, it doesn’t even feel like work. You go the extra mile in everything; you learn and you prosper. Depending on your role, your passion might be a particular task or duty; you might not even realise what it is you love. Take time to gather your thoughts throughout the day – how are you feeling? What sort of mood are you in and why? Once you find the thing that is making you happy, tell your exec/principal. They want you to be happy at work just as much as you do. If they know what drives you, they will let you do more of that. We must cut through the mist of job titles, salaries and social norms to discover our passion. Ask yourself ‘if money wasn’t an issue, what would I be doing’? There will be a job in it somewhere. Of course, what you love doesn’t have to be what you do for work, it could just enable you to do more of it. But remember, during our lives we spend 35 per cent of our total waking hours at work. During this arguably best portion of our life, I would propose that we need to feel good about that precious time. Millennials get a bad rep, but I’m not here to berate or defend my fellow ‘trophy kids’. I think we get one thing right; the large majority want to work in places that make them feel good, that does something in line with their own values, that makes a difference – is it time we take a leaf out of their book?


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Abi Sangster Working so closely to someone in the public eye requires a certain level of discretion, something which Abi Sangster, EA to Mary Portas, is all too familiar with. Jade Burke sits down with her to ďŹ nd out why she never planned on becoming an assistant, and how her gregarious personality has led her to achieve such a close-working relationship with her boss Photography: Dave Willis | Location: The Hari Hotel, London



I realised that this person put all their trust into me and the meaning of discretion and understanding was put to the test from the very beginning. Abi Sangster


To be honest, I never really set out or had that lightbulb moment to be an EA,” Abi Sangster, executive assistant to retail consultant Mary Portas, openly tells me. Despite this, she has garnered a career that has spanned many roles comparable to an assistant, such as a receptionist, team coordinator and a team assistant – therefore it is no surprise to learn that Sangster is now one of the key figures within the Portas team, as an EA. “Throughout all my roles to date, one thing is clear – I’m always drawn towards interesting challenges and strong personalities. Every role I’ve had has helped build and prepare for the role I’m doing today,” Sangster shares. She certainly has found this within her current role, working alongside the ‘The Queen of Shops’ who is often in the public eye – Sangster’s role quite literally is ever-changing. With two years under her belt at Portas, Sangster knows the business – and her boss – inside out, where she is never in the same place for too long. She reveals: “Working for someone with so many areas of expertise, it’s safe to say no two days are the same. One minute I’ll be taking notes in our boardroom at Portas, the next minute I’ll be sat in the recording studio at BBC’s Broadcasting House prepping Mary for a radio interview, the next week I could be sat front row of Melbourne Fashion Week. The only thing that’s constant is how varied each day is.” I meet with Sangster inside The Hari Hotel, located within Belgravia in London. The venue epitomises luxury, while remaining warm and welcoming from the bitter chill of the cold winter months that have fallen; it’s the ideal spot to reflect Sangster’s job role here in the City. However, the transition from a city EA to a full-time personal and public-facing EA was a challenging task. She tells me: “Priorities had to change and suddenly I knew everything about her. I realised that this person put all their trust into me and the meaning of discretion and understanding was put to the test from the very beginning.” Due to Portas’ public status, having the knowledge of privacy is paramount to Sangster’s role, something she was very aware of when she began her position. She continues: “With any EA and their boss, discretion is key – it doesn’t matter whether they’re famous or not. However, as Mary does have a significant public profile, an added level of forwardthinking is needed when working with her, given that anything said or done could be used for a news story.” Sangster’s bubbly and vivacious character is infectious; it’s clear to see that both her and her boss gel so well together – their personalities match one another perfectly. I got the chance to speak with Sangster’s boss Portas, and I was keen to find out what she looks for in an assistant: “Trust is number one. You have to trust them completely and that for me is the most important. But I think your assistant has to have charm – I really look for that in mine and she’s got oodles of it,” she adds. “When it works and it’s a chemistry thing with mutual respect and trust at the heart of it that neither of you abuses, then you have got something very valuable.” This year has seen Sangster spearhead several new changes, with one of her most memorable achievements proving to be the office refurbishment. With high expectations on aesthetics that were sustainable and suitable for an office environment, she had her work cut out for her. However, after introducing hot-desking and the new ‘Portas table’ to the workplace, she’s pleased to reveal that productivity has sky-rocketed. “This year I renovated our offices at Portas and I couldn’t be prouder. Beyond the bookshelves, plants and art we installed, I came across a new company, Open Desk. We’ve since added to their range ‘the Portas table’ – they use wood and recycled yoghurt pots to make it – who knew your old Muller yoghurt could later look like a piece of marble?



'RQ·WJHWÁXVWHUHGDQG remember your role is to remind them that everything is under control. Abi Sangster

Check out my full interview with Mary Portas at palife.co.uk, to find out how she works alongside her EA and why she believes it’s crucial to not blur the lines between friends and professional colleagues.


“The energy in the place has never been better and it would seem that business is even getting better as a result of this. I’m really proud of that.” Supporting Portas throughout her day is a maximum priority for Sangster, and now that her boss has released her third book titled Work Like a Woman (which is now available from Amazon for £6.49), Sangster is excited to see what its release will bring to the PA community. “The book details the shift that Mary believes work culture should make (from alpha and bullying to more feminine and collaborative). I’d love to see this manifesto realised across industries,” enthuses Sangster. “In particular I believe that we – EAs, PAs or VAs – whatever type of support role we do, have an incredibly valuable voice and hopefully this book and movement will encourage us to do more and most of all use our voice in places.” During our shoot, Sangster dons a badge that also reads ‘Work Like a Woman’, reflecting her passion and support for her boss and all she does. Thanks to her dedication, Sangster has been able to grow in confidence, while also understanding just what she needs to offer as an assistant. For example, she advises that more assistants need to have the confidence to speak on behalf of their boss and cannot be afraid to take charge and make decisions. She continues: “Use your knowledge of your boss’ personal life to help with how you prioritise their workload. It’s not my job to tell Mary when to buy a birthday present for somebody, but if I have the thought before she does, I’ll be sure to handle it so it’s one less thing she has to do in her day.” And it seems Portas unequivocally agrees, as she tells me: “It’s knowing when to do something and knowing when to interrupt. It takes intelligence; you need a sharp mind because you really are bringing every skill to the role and it’s the ability to be able to guess a situation even before it happens, that I think is brilliant, and Abi just picks it all up.” Armed with plans to build her role and allow Portas’ team assistant to grow and develop into a PA, Sangster is now ready to take the next step in her career. However, I am keen to find out what advice she would tell herself when she first started in the industry. “It would be to remove your ego,” she claims. “Know it’s not all about you and don’t take things too personally. The stakes are high and your boss will be under pressure. Don’t get flustered and remember your role is to remind them that everything is under control (even if it isn’t).” These words will give any aspiring or seasoned assistant some food for thought. In such a fast-paced industry, it’s essential for PAs to take control and lead the way for their boss, something Sangster is championing perfectly.


CONTACT DETAILS T: 0161 464 5350 E: corporatesales@travelcounsellors.com W: business.travelcounsellors.com

How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Travel Spend We asked Travel Counsellors for Business for their top 5 tips on how to get the best deals on your business travel.

Book as far in advance as you can – most fares are subject to availability which means even an economy seat booked four weeks before travel will cost a lot less than the same seat booked only the day before.

multiple night stays. Airline loyalty programmes often include access to lounges, upgrades and free flights which also helps to reduce travel costs and your company as well as your travellers can often benefit from these.

Do you need flexibility? Restricted tickets are cheaper but only if you stick to them! However, if you think your plans may change, build it in from day one; as amendments and cancellations could end up costing you more later.

Negotiate discounted rates with preferred suppliers – or use a Travel Management Company which has already negotiated them on your behalf. For example, at Travel Counsellors for Business we will give you access to our great fares, compare options, advise on booking patterns and even manage your loyalty programmes as standard.

Compare costs for less-obvious travel options. You might be surprised at how much using an alternative airport or choosing an indirect flight could save you. Sign up for loyalty programmes. Many hotel loyalty schemes include free extras which can add up significantly over

If you would like more information on how Travel Counsellors for Business’ award-winning service can help you manage your company’s business travel, please get in touch.


HOW TO... You can find PA Life at the following shows: Business Travel Show The PA Show CHS 2019 The Meetings Show

We know that ‘being there, taking part and being seen’ is one of the biggest mood and motivation boosters. Carina Bauer

How to get the most out of trade shows As we enter 2019, we are inundated with the number of industry trade events taking place where we are all given the opportunity to network and conduct business. Carina Bauer, CEO of the IMEX Group, shares her top tips to help you make the most out of the next show you attend


As CEO of an event organiser, my team and I work closely with our visitors and exhibitors to provide a strong and measurable return on the time and effort invested in coming to one of our shows. With ‘competition’ from the likes of Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, we know we have to work hard to offer a really vivid, valuable and human business experience. So, here is my advice on how to gain both professionally and personally from going to an industry event or exhibition: With thousands of exhibitors, hundreds of education sessions and numerous industry events on and off the show floor, where do you begin? Check out the Show Preview, look at the show’s website, read the media reports – and get planning. Look at your business requirements, research the suppliers and pinpoint the relevant ones to connect with. Some event organisers enable visitors to make appointments with exhibitors beforehand so

you can guarantee you’ll have valuable time on the show floor with everyone. All of that said, leave time for lunch, coffees and calm time in between meetings and seminars. Going home exhausted is not helpful and, more importantly, a lot of trade show networking happens in what we call ‘the cracks in between’…such as waiting in the toilet or in the coffee shop. Many shows include a comprehensive programme of learning, delivered by leading experts, and are sometimes free of charge. Make the most of this and hone down which sessions are right for you. Let’s be honest, the hope of bumping into an industry hero, your favourite speaker or landing your next dream job can be a legitimate by-product of going to a business event. We all know that it can feel really hard to pull yourself away from your desk but we also know that ‘being there, taking part and being seen’ is one of the biggest mood and motivation boosters ever. Make it your 2019 resolution to get out and experience more business events first-hand.

HOW TO... PA Life recommends these travel bulletins: Travel Weekly TAG Business Travel Show

At the moment nothing is certain, so now is a great time to prepare for the fact that all rules could change. Peter Snowdon

How to prepare your travellers for Brexit As we approach the impending withdrawal from the EU, many travellers are still in the dark about how Brexit will impact the way we travel. With that in mind, Peter Snowdon, head of global account management at TAG, shares his insights on how travellers can best deal with the changes

Although a lot of uncertainty surrounds Brexit at the moment, one thing we can be sure of is that whatever the outcome, we are going to see changes to the way in which UK citizens travel and it is important that businesses prepare accordingly. Even regular travellers could be caught out if not aware of the new rules, which if ignored could lead to denied boarding and significant costs for re-arranging plans. Profile cleanse This is a good time to review your travellers’ profile details; check their passport expiry dates and make a note of any non-UK passport-holders. Keep informed Ensure you keep up-to-date with the latest Government advice on passport regulations and passenger travel. The account manager at your TMC can be another good source of

information, while also subscribing to regular travel bulletins. Protect your travellers Now is the time to review how you book corporate travel. Do you currently use a TMC? If so, are they giving you the advice you need and helping you prepare? It is critical to ensure you have an emergency out-of-hours service and procedure in place. Now is also a good time to review your corporate travel insurance policy, and make yourself aware of any major exclusions that could affect your business in the event of a claim being made. Do you need to change providers? Make it clear to your travellers that it is their responsibility to ensure they are following the right procedures, so that if something does go wrong, you are covered. Be prepared for change At the moment nothing is certain, so now is a great time to prepare for the fact that all rules could change in an instant.

PA Life will also be hosting a panel at The PA Show with a key focus on how Brexit will impact business travel.




Many companies will have access to market rates meaning they can provide travel at a cheaper cost. Simon Rowland

How to source the right TMC for your business The market is inundated with travel management companies (TMCs), making it tricky to select the right one for your business. To help you make the decision easier, Simon Rowland, head of sales at CT Business Travel, reveals what you should look for in yours


Among the many hats that a PA wears, one is often travel manager. They are usually expected to liaise with hotels, book airline seats, organise transfers or car hire and all at the best price possible. Employing a travel management company (TMC) can help relieve the stress related to this task, but what should you be looking for when choosing one? Travel is an ever-changing beast with inclement weather, worker strikes and even drone activity all affecting plans. Alternative travel and/or accommodation may need to be quickly sourced, while keeping the traveller fully updated. Many TMCs will have access to technology, such as traveller tracking, which can identify if your travellers are likely to be affected by unforeseen events, ensuring your traveller’s duty of care is covered at all times. This is often backed up by an out of hours service to ensure your travellers have a contact outside of office hours.

Some TMCs will allow travellers to book online via bespoke tools or apps. Alternatively, travellers could book via the telephone, often dealing with a regular contact within a TMC, allowing a higher level of customer service. It is important to ensure that yours is a member of a travel trade association, such as the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) or the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to provide you with the peace of mind that your travel is protected. Many companies will have access to market rates meaning they can provide travel at a cheaper cost than if a PA were to arrange it. It is therefore important that the reporting they provide gives information such as money and time saved on travel due to a TMC organising it. Business travel not only changes from business-to-business, but also from employee-to-employee. You need to source one that provides everything a PA requires, to ensure travel manager is one less hat they have to wear.

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Booking hotels just got easier A lot goes into booking hotels. For starters, you need to consider your employees’ preferences. Are they interested in staying in a well-known hotel like the Hilton, or are they looking for more of a boutique feel? Do they want to be in the city center, or would they rather stay in a quieter area? Of course, you need to keep all of this in mind while sticking to a strict budget. Finding a selection of hotels that match your employees’ desires and your company’s interests takes time and effort. You’ve no doubt found yourself spending hours comparing hotels on different websites.


Thankfully, there’s a smart solution for you: Arbitrip, the hottest new accommodation partner. Arbitrip is an online booking tool that helps you find the best hotels for each trip in less than 60 seconds. Their technology scans the market and instantly provides you with all of the information that you need. No more endless searches and comparisons. Arbitrip allows you to take control over your budget. You can pay as you go, or pay once a month, whatever works best for you. Furthermore, Arbitrip will even negotiate great hotel deals for you. You’ll be able to see the lowest

Save time and money by using an online booking tool to reserve your employees’ next hotel stay.

prices, as well as verified reviews from other business travellers, resulting in full visibility over your travel spend. Arbitrip’s clients report an average savings of 27% on their accommodation spend. Reach out to one of Arbitrip’s business travel consultants to learn more about how you can save time and money.

CONTACT DETAILS T: +44 20 3608 0404 E: info@arbitrip.com www.arbitrip.com


Destination, unknown The business travel market is a huge arena, filled with numerous firms, such as travel management companies or consultants, all specialising in offering expert advice and travel services. We’ve compiled a list of the best out there to help support assistants this year Whether it’s booking a visa, researching for the best budget hotel or choosing a private charter flight, a personal assistant is often the one left to manage the task. With factors such as Brexit, rising airfares and fluctuating hotel prices all coming into play, never has it been more imperative for a PA to ensure they have the right knowledge and tools to book business travel. “In many companies, the role of managing business travel often falls to the PA, along with the many other roles they have,” Simon Rowland, head of sales at CT Business Travel, tells PA Life. “It is big business and forecasts suggest business travel spend will continue to rise, despite the uncertainty of Brexit. PAs are expected to juggle travel policies, employees’ duty of care, invoice and cost reconciliation and negotiate the best rates at the same time. It is time-consuming and bosses often take this for granted.” That’s where a travel consultant, agent or management company can come into play – their expertise can lend a helping hand to anyone looking to book a corporate trip, whether that is in the UK or abroad.

The business travel arena is an ever-changing beast, making it difficult for an assistant to keep on top of the constant adaptations to the market – an expert in the field is the best port of call, especially if pricing and budgets are a key focus point. However, although pricing is often a priority, it is also worth thinking about an employees’ health and well-being when they are travelling long distances. By

this. By providing access to powerful technology and insight-led data enables smarter decision-making (or nudges), helping avoid unnecessary travel. And when the need for travel arises, employees can do so with the comfort of knowing; health, well-being, safety and security are the priority, making a real difference for travellers.” With all of this in mind, turning to the appropriate industry expert, whether that

It is big business and forecasts suggest business travel spend will continue to rise, despite the uncertainty of Brexit. Simon Rowland

garnering forward-thinking knowledge from a TMC or consultant, assistants can ensure that employees will travel safely. Neal Poole, director of marketing at Capita Travel and Events, shares: “When it comes to travelling on business, an employee’s health, well-being, safety and security should be high on the agenda for any organisation. “The value of a forward-thinking travel management company can support with

is a TMC or consultant, can make sense of this fast-paced market, making the job of a PA that little more manageable. “When booking business travel isn’t your full-time job, it can feel like a bit of a minefield to navigate, but with the right guidance, it’s really not that difficult to start cutting costs, getting better deals and keeping your travellers safe, secure and happy,” adds David Chapple, event director for the Business Travel Show.





>>> CT BUSINESS TRAVEL Managing business travel can be time-consuming and costly. Travel spend can spiral out of control without correct procedures in place, travel policies are not always enforced and time spent reconciling expenditure and invoices can be frustrating. CT Business Travel has over 30 years’ experience in helping companies streamline their business travel, from bespoke, online booking technology with controls and reporting, to writing travel policies and duty of care procedures. If your business is serious about saving money and time spent managing its business travel, then get in touch with CT Business Travel today and find out how the company can help. 01892 673 422


TBR GLOBAL CHAUFFEURING Operating in over 3,000 cities, with wholly owned offices in Glasgow, London, Boston, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, TBR Global Chauffeuring seamlessly marries an extensive global reach with local expertise. With a combination of its own fleet and an unrivalled network of global affiliates, last year TBR serviced over 140,000 journeys worldwide. By providing a fully managed service and innovative booking solutions, the firm delivers peace of mind to its clients who rely on it for international ground transportation, project managed events and multi-city financial roadshows. 0141 280 4800

TAG TAG is a global award-winning TMC specialising in providing a white-glove service to discerning travellers and assistants. With ten global offices, an in-house emergency out-of-hours service, and the highest calibre agents, it’s safe to say the team are experts. Exceptional supplier relationships and global buying power ensures the company provides its clients with cost-savings and added value. This combined with its award-winning service, innovative TAGtech and strategic account management ensures it is able to provide a truly exceptional travel experience at a competitive cost. 0208 962 5836


BOOK YOUR ESCAPE +44 (0)208 600 0430 enquiries@virginlimitededition.com www.thelodge.virgin.com

Hit the slopes this winter at Sir Richard Branson’s Swiss chalet The Lodge is Sir Richard Branson’s mountain retreat in Verbier, Switzerland, one of Europe’s most exclusive resorts for world-class skiing and fabulous après-ski. Perched high in the peaks of the Swiss Alps, The Lodge is your home-fromhome, complete with 9 stunning bedrooms and suites, and a bunk room for up to 6 children. A dedicated team is on hand to make sure your ski experience is completely hassle-free from the moment you arrive, and our chefs ensure everyone is well fed from morning to night. The food served at The Lodge is one of the highlights of

your stay and rates include all meals and all drinks (including plenty of bubbles!). When you’re not on the slopes, take a dip in the indoor pool or in one of the two Jacuzzi’s, relax in the steam room or indulge in a spa treatment before heading to the party room! Or if you fancy venturing out into Verbier the town boasts over 40 restaurants ranging from the simple to the stylish – just ask the team for recommendations.

The Lodge is a true year-round alpine paradise and is available to book exclusively - ideal for a luxury ski holiday or an active summer break. With heavy snow falling in Verbier, now’s the time to book your winter escape during the February & March Hotel Weeks. Rates start from CHF 1,610 per room per night, based on two adults sharing, for a minimum of 3 nights between: 10th - 17th February and 24th February - 28th March 2019.



>>> HYRYDE Hyryde understands the busy life of a PA and the vast options available to support their ground transportation needs. As a premium chauffeur service, the company prides itself on excellence, safety and luxury. Discover the most efficient, professional, and costeffective way to travel when you choose Hyryde’s award winning London and worldwide chauffeur service program. “We will do everything for you. You now have us as part of your ground transportation team. One point of contact, expertise that you can trust,” Matthew Ruff, sales and marketing director of Hyryde, tells PA Life. 0207 117 6023

Free WiFi has arrived.


>>> VENUESCANNER With the largest choice of venues in the UK, VenueScanner empowers event organisers to source the right venue in a fast and affordable manner. The company is a venue discovery and booking platform, that aims to make venue finding as simple as online giant Amazon makes shopping. The company is known for its commitment to finding the greatest variety of spaces; always actively looking for affordable, undiscovered venues. So, whether you’re booking an important meeting, a private dining room, a company conference, or an office party, VenueScanner will help you find the right option. It’s free to use and it guarantees the lowest prices, all available to compare upfront. 07590 763 090

Let’s get to work. Free on-board WiFi*

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>>> CLASSIC BRITISH HOTELS Classic British Hotels is a handpicked collection of highquality hotels, offering business travellers a refreshing change of scene with every stay. Each hotel has been carefully selected and has its own authentic local flavour, architectural style and guest amenities. Located throughout the British Isles, a trip might take travellers to a boutique city centre hotel or a stylish contemporary venue. Alternatively, they could find themselves in a luxurious country house, a heritage hotel with a fascinating history or an impressive spa or golf resort. Check-in to business-quality accommodation, delicious food, cutting-edge health clubs and superb service. It’s business, but not as usual. Book independent. Be individual. Stay inspired. 01483 747 480

ARBITRIP The Arbitrip online hotel booking tool helps travellers book the best hotels at the lowest possible rates. With access to deeply discounted B2B rates, users can save up to 40 per cent off the price they would pay online. When searching for a hotel, clients can see a list of the most relevant hotels for business trips, read verified reviews from other business travellers and see a map with directions from each hotel to the destination point. There’s also no need to open multiple tabs and compare rates from different websites, as Arbitrip gives users all the information they need in one place, exactly when they need it. And the best part – using Arbitrip is completely free. 020 3608 0404

TRAVEL COUNSELLORS Travel Counsellors for Business offers a unique concierge-style travel service built around a company and its travellers. Working with dedicated, experienced travel professionals means users will benefit from a highly tailored, personal service backed up by awardwinning technology. The company delivers everything you expect from a world-class TMC, plus extras like managing airline loyalty programmes, online check-in and restaurant reservations. It’s this attention to detail that has seen Travel Counsellors develop into one of the world’s fastest growing travel companies and boasts a 96 per cent customer satisfaction rating. 0161 464 5350



CONTACT DETAILS T: +44 (0) 330 390 0340 E: travelevents@capita.co.uk www.capitatravelevents.co.uk

7 jobs a travel management company can do for you A good travel management company (TMC) employs a wide range of skillsets to make sure you have the edge when it comes to safety, wellbeing and cost. 1. Guardian angel Fulfilling their duty of care towards travellers is a top priority in boardrooms. TMCs can centralise data and global alerts to keep communication flowing and traveller and meetings tracking tools can make sure employers know where people are at key points of their journey and make new travel arrangements. 2. Industry expert With many day-to-day bookings now largely automated, TMCs can concentrate on giving expert advice. According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), implementing a managed travel programme can help companies reduce total travel costs by at least 45 per cent.


3. Technology geek Technology is a big differentiator between TMCs. At a minimum, it should be able to provide an intuitive self-booking tool, traveller-tracking tools, and present your data - tailored to your needs. 4. Number cruncher To understand your true journey costs, data needs to be collected from disparate places and brought together. Mining data to spot trends (predictive analytics), means that experts such as Capita can help companies consolidate information for valuable insights, such as forecasting future traveller behaviour or budget overspill.

5. Meetings specialist Ever wished you could combine overnight travel and meetings? Specialists have the latest meetings management software to help you optimise empty internal space and its use, reducing the need for external venues. And they can capture management information to discover the total cost of a meeting. 6. 24/7 support Your TMC should be available 27/7, so if your traveller is stuck at an airport after a cancellation – or can’t find the hotel – help is at hand. Flights can be re-booked and your traveller can be on their way with minimal fuss. 7. All the rest The remit of TMCs is now vast as companies evolve from bookers to full-service providers, and more. Contracting out responsibility for your travel will look after your VIPs, expedite visas, ensure that your organisation’s spend is managed effectively, encourage policy compliance and ensure maximum productivity on the move – all while maintaining duty-of-care obligations to your travellers.


>>> VIRGIN LIMITED EDITION Virgin Limited Edition is an awardwinning collection of unique retreats chosen for their beautiful locations and magnificent surroundings. The company is owned by British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and includes Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, Ulusaba private game reserve in South Africa, Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, The Lodge luxury chalet in Switzerland, Mahali Mzuri tented safari camp in Kenya, Mont Rochelle Hotel and Mountain Vineyard in South Africa, and the historic Son Bunyola Estate in Majorca. Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, a group getaway to reward and inspire colleagues, or a business trip with a difference, the Virgin Limited Edition properties each offer a sense of style, luxury, exceptional personal service and fun. 0800 716 919

ROOMEX Roomex is the leading hotel booking platform for any workforce, offering the best price on 1.2 million hotels globally. Through its platform users can search, book, manage and pay for all business hotel bookings in one place, making travelling for work easy. Users can save up to 21 per cent on hotel bookings with Roomex’s real-time price checking. Track employee expenses and understand a hotel’s costs in real-time using Roomex’s dashboard, and enjoy the ease of paying one single monthly invoice for all hotel bookings. 020 7183 7737


YOUR NEXT MEETING? We have over 70 suggestions...

Top quality UK hotels. Meet inspired. Stay inspired.

Call: 0845 0 70 70 90

Email: enquiries@classicbritishhotels.com



>>> CROSSCOUNTRY TRAINS CrossCountry Trains now provides free wifi for all of its passengers travelling on its extensive UK network. All 92 trains are now fitted with wifi systems to ensure seamless connectivity. The new on-board technology enables connectivity while on the move, enhancing the CrossCountry experience for both business and leisure travellers. The investment demonstrates CrossCountry Trains’ commitment to continually improve its services for customers. From Aberdeen to Penzance and Cardiff to Stansted, CrossCountry crosses more of the country than any other rail company so customers can now stay connected on every journey. 0121 200 6115

>>> CAPITA TRAVEL AND EVENTS Keep your travellers happy, your meeting and event delegates buzzing, and your finance department smiling. Capita Travel and Events will help you do it all effortlessly. Whatever the size of your organisation, Capita has a solution that will help you drive down the cost of travel, meetings and events, with increased service quality, duty of care and wellbeing in mind. Do you want to be the person who helps make your organisation look great? Get in touch with a member of the team to see how Capita can help you get the desired results from a specialist travel, meetings and events provider that will benefit your organisation. 0330 390 0340


Images Š UK Parliament / Matt Chung

Steeped in history, the Houses of Parliament provides a unique setting for your event

House of Commons 020 7219 3090 hoceventsteam@parliament.uk House of Lords 020 7219 3356 holbanqueting@parliament.uk Follow us on Twitter @UKParliament


Do you have any networking tips? Let us know @PALifeMag

How to network like a pro Heading into the New Year, we will be inundated with a number of social events and shows where the need will arise to step out of our comfort zones and network with members of the industry. It’s a daunting prospect for even the most confident of people, so the team at PA Life has compiled a list of helpful tips to ensure you make your next networking event a success Take business cards This sounds like an obvious one, and yet so many of us forget to take our business cards with us when we head out to networking events. These little cards give us the chance to inform members of our industry who we are, who we represent and that we want to conduct business, so it is imperative these are not forgotten. It’s worth purchasing a card holder, where you can place around 20 business cards to keep handy in your bag or wallet for safe-keeping, so you are never without any at a function.


Social media A good way of finding out who may be attending the event is by using social media. Check out who has liked posts on Twitter or Facebook by the organiser and use LinkedIn to connect with them professionally.


Social media is a fantastic tool to find out who’s who, what their job titles are and who they work for in your industry, which will enable you to spark up conversation or even group-up with others who are attending alone. Head to the bar For many, the bar is a ‘safe zone’. It’s the first thing many of us do when we arrive somewhere, and because of this, it is actually one of the places to meet new people and catch up with old acquaintances in the industry. Alcohol isn’t a necessity, so grab an orange juice and see who you meet – it’s definitely worthwhile.


Conversation ideas Before you reach the function, think of some conversation starters. No one wants to head into an event unprepared and stammering


when they meet someone new. Similarly starting a conversation stating, ‘I’ve been so busy’ halts the chat, so get creative. Try questions such as, ‘How did you get into this role?’, ‘What makes this event stand out to you?’, ‘Does your company run similar networking events?’. This opens the floor to better communication and rapport, and you will leave feeling satisfied.

Smile Walking into a function with a smile on your face is one of the most positive things anyone can do. Wearing a smile invites people to speak with you and interact – frowning in the corner of a room and looking uncomfortable unfortunately doesn’t draw people in. So, consider this when you next attend a business gathering.

Confident outfit When you look confident, you feel confident, so nailing that power outfit is essential to an event where you are required to meet new people. If you’ve bought a new pair of shoes that are painful to wear or have purchased that shirt that shows up every stain – avoid it. Opt for clothes that you feel comfortable in, but that also make you feel ready to take on the day and you won’t fail to network.

Follow-up Finally, remember to always follow-up with those you meet at any function. If you have had a promising conversation with someone in the industry, ensure you keep in touch and remain up-to-date with one another. It’s a good idea to contact them 48 hours after the event to make sure you are remembered among the new faces everyone meets, while LinkedIn connections also help.







What are

you worth? 2018 witnessed an optimistic change in terms of salaries and work-life balance, according to Hays’ 2019 UK Salary and Recruitment Survey. Jade Burke speaks to Roddy Addair, director of Hays office support and personal and executive assistants, to make sense of the latest findings In 2019, most of us will endeavour to set out new goals and achievements – but for many, the chance to go the extra mile and impress our employers is one of the most important as we seek out wage increases. With factors such as Brexit coming into play and the uncertainty around the economic climate, it’s encouraging to see that in 2018, PA, EA and office staff salaries have in fact increased by 1.8 per cent.

Despite economic uncertainty, the number of employers planning to recruit this year has risen by ten per cent to 78 per cent compared to 68 per cent last year.

According to the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019, although this figure is slightly below the UK average of 1.9 per cent, 72 per cent of employers plan on increasing salaries in 2019. This is a promising outlook, since in 2018 PA Life reported that wages for PA and secretarial staff raised by 0.7 per cent during 2017 – a modest rise but small in comparison to the recent figure. This is a positive takeaway, showing how instrumental assistants are to a workforce and why salaries must continue to increase to reflect this. Data found that PAs based in London were earning the most, averaging at £46,000, while employees in Wales earned £28,000 annually. Elsewhere, EAs based in London were taking home £55,000 and staff in Northern Ireland secured £31,000.


It seems that many professionals are satisfied within their roles, thanks to the opportunities to expand skillsets in the workplace. Hays’ findings show that nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) say they are satisfied in their role, and over half (55 per cent) say there is scope for progression within their positions. “Over the next year, close to two-thirds (64 per cent) of employers of office support and PA/EA professionals expect their business activity levels to increase,

which is in line with the UK average of 61 per cent,” Roddy Adair, director of Hays office support and personal and executive assistants, tells PA Life. “Despite economic uncertainty, the number of employers planning to recruit this year has risen by ten per cent to 78 per cent, compared to 68 per cent last year. However, 62 per cent of employers expect to face a shortage of suitable candidates over the next 12 months as many struggle with skills shortages.” Growing expertise In contrast, however, over 42 per cent of professionals say they had moved roles in the last 12 months, while 36 per cent have considered moving. Elsewhere, 32 per cent are planning to move jobs in the next six months due to limitations on salaries and benefits, as well as a lack of

future opportunities. Due to these declining opportunities and skills, employers have begun to witness more skills shortages than ever before. Hays’ findings reveal that 91 per cent of employers have experienced skills shortages in the past year, with 55 per cent claiming it has had a negative impact on morale. Similarly, 48 per cent say it has affected productivity and 39 per cent have witnessed an impact on the ability to deliver projects. The lack of skills shortages has dramatically had an impact on staff, however employers have begun to take note by introducing new training schemes and opportunities to progress. Addair enthuses: “As employers continue to compete for talent, they must seek other approaches to attract and retain employees. Employees are looking for more than a boost in salary to move jobs, and it’s never been more important for employers to understand the complex factors that influence employee movement.”

Does your employer promote upskilliing opportunities? Let us know @PALifeMag

The balancing effect It’s undeniable that salaries are one of the most crucial factors to PAs, but it seems that securing a career with a company which champions a structured work-life balance is an important factor to ensure employees remain in their role and don’t begin to look elsewhere.

“It’s clear that employers are underestimating the appeal of offering a positive work-life balance to prospective employees, and the value this can have as a tactic in competing for talent. From our survey respondents and our own experience – many employees want to change their working hours to improve

Offering clear progression pathways should be at the forefront of employers’ talent management strategies to attract and retain top PA and EA talent.

Hays’ findings report that a good work-life balance was one of the most important aspects for 28 per cent of PAs and EAs when looking for a new role, and this is something more employers need to recognise. Addair continues: “Aside from salary, work-life balance remains the most important aspect for professionals when looking for a new role.

their work-life balance and this includes flexible working.” With our working hours eating into our private lives more and more, finding that work-life balance is more imperative than ever before. Positively, employers are recognising this as they rate it as the top factor (18 per cent) when attracting staff, followed by career development (16 per cent).

2018 has proven to be a success for professionals within the industry, as we have witnessed a slight increase in salaries. Plus, with the added benefit that employers are actively seeking to offer an improved work-life balance, as well as more opportunities for up-skilling, 2019 looks set to be a positive 12 months. “Offering clear progression pathways should be at the forefront of employers’ talent management strategies to attract and retain top PA and EA talent for the year ahead. As part of these plans – I’d encourage employers to consider training and development opportunities, which enable PAs to enhance their technological, commercial and project management skills,” shares Addair. “While we await the outcome of Brexit negotiations, employers are continuing to hire for the year ahead – demonstrably more so than the year before. This can only be a positive and as such, PA and EA professionals should start to think about where they want their career to go in 2019.”



Checking in:

The Grand, Brighton Steeped in rich history, The Grand, Brighton is like no other hotel thanks to its fascinating past. Jade Burke checks into the independent hotel for the night to find out how it looks after its guests and why it has remained an iconic landmark on the south coast Facing the seafront, The Grand is a hotel that truly does have a personality of its own. At just over an hour’s train journey from Central London, it’s a short distance transporting guests into a bohemian setting that boasts everything from restaurants and museums, to festivals and Regency-era buildings.


There’s no doubt about it, The Grand is an iconic landmark along the seafront of Brighton, having stood there since the 1800s, where it has been the back drop for many films and TV shows including Quadrophenia, Brighton Rock, Wimbledon and Only Fools and Horses. Not only that, the hotel itself is known for the 1984 bombing, where

Contact: 01273 224 300 | grandbrighton.co.uk Good for: Mini exhibitions | Coastal adventures | Seafood enthusiasts

the IRA attempted an assassination on then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during the Conservative Party Conference. Despite the devastating circumstances, the hotel has remained a recognised symbol along the south coast. I had the privilege of staying at the hotel, where I got the chance to soak up its stunning architecture and experience the exquisite hospitality. On arrival I was greeted by one of the concierge team members who took my luggage up to my room once I had checked in. The Grand

a desk with plenty of space to work from inside, while a small lounge and flat-screen TV is included. The Grand is an impressive hotel that has numerous spaces for corporate events; on-site the hotel boasts The Empress Suite that comes with its own private entrance and foyer. Capable of hosting 900 guests theatre style and 600 for a private dinner, the space is unparalleled. Other rooms available include the George 3rd and George 2nd, which can accommodate 12 boardroom style, while

On-site the hotel boasts The Empress Suite that comes with its own private entrance and foyer. Capable of hosting 900 guests theatre style, the space is unparalleled.

also offers a valet offering – it is first-class service at its best here. Around the hotel, various NFC plaques have been secured to the walls, where anyone with a smart device that uses the technology can hold theirs to it to find out some history about The Grand. It was thrilling to walk around the venue and find out what nuggets of history I might discover – what a fantastic way to keep the history of the hotel alive, while bringing it into the 21st century with the latest tech. The lobby houses a roaring fireplace and check in-desk, while adjacent to it sits a bar with a plush seating area. Alongside the front desk, guests will find the entrance to the GB1 restaurant, which is known for its ample seafood offering – it comes complete with a seafood bar. I can’t wait to visit in the evening to try the dishes. Heading up to my room located on the second floor, I got the chance to view the glorious square shaped staircase – something that the hotel is also recognised for. I was shown to my room by one of the porters, who told me it was one of the standout bedrooms the hotel has to offer. Known as a Classic Deluxe Sea View Room, after walking through its front door I was led into a lobby, which went through to the main bedroom. The view alone is enough to impress guests; it overlooks the sea and the pebbled beach, meanwhile the British Airways i360 can also be seen thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows. There is also

the first floor meeting rooms can cater for up to 30 delegates theatre style. Meanwhile, the spa can offer some enticing incentive treats for corporate clients, where treatments including massages, facials, body scrubs and manicures can all be booked. The crowning jewel for me, however, is GB1. The restaurant plays hosts to an elaborate menu of fish and seafood; diners can sample cod, haddock, sea bass, hake and scallops, while the grill offers a mouth-watering variety for meat-eaters. Be sure to also check out the special’s menu, as each day something new is added for foodies to try. For those seeking a cocktail with a twist after their meal, I’d suggest guests head to The Victoria Bar to try one of its signature tipples. During my stay I got to try the Columbus 1493. Served alongside dry ice in a metal, pineapple-shaped glass, the cocktail is a mixture of diplomatico, peach purée, lime juice, vanilla syrup and pineapple juice – simply delicious. The Grand features everything any guest could need under one roof, from its versatile meeting and conference facilities to the on-site spa and restaurant, plus with the centre of Brighton just minutes away and the seafront just a step outside, there is plenty of choice to keep guests entertained. This hotel has made its mark on me and I for one cannot wait to stay here again.



The ‘C’ word at work Encouraging the prevention, detection and treatment of cancer is at the forefront of many people’s minds, but is enough being done throughout workplaces in the UK? As World Cancer Day took place on February 4, 2019, Jade Burke asks the PA community how they believe employers can support individuals with a cancer diagnosis Discussing cancer with an employer or fellow colleagues can be seen as taboo, as many often do not understand the disease, its complications and how best to deal with the situation of talking about it. Despite the fact that one in two people are predicted to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetime, according to Macmillan Cancer Support, the subject and stigma around cancer is still often shied away from. World Cancer Day took place on February 4, as such, now is the time for employers to raise awareness within the workplace to provide those with a diagnosis and people living with cancer the opportunity to express their concerns openly and safely. With our jobs taking up a large majority of our lives, ensuring that the workplace and staff members are equipped to appropriately deal with different diseases is paramount. Rebecca Coaker, services influencing manager of Working Through Cancer at Macmillan Cancer Support, tells PA Life: “Managers and employers can play a really important role in supporting people with cancer and their carers. “As soon as someone receives a diagnosis, they are protected from discrimination under an equality legislation. This means employers have a legal obligation to consider what reasonable adjustments they can make to help the employee remain in or return to work.” Macmillan currently offers employers various training schemes to ensure management staff can offer the

appropriate support network, and more than 10,000 employers have signed up to the Macmillan at Work programme. Thankfully, members from the PA community who have received a cancer diagnosis or have known someone with the disease have witnessed tremendous understanding from their workforce and colleagues. Jacqueline Smith, who is a PA, worked with a colleague and friend for 25 years before she was diagnosed with throat cancer. She tells me: “They had an agreed care plan in place for employees who were unwell, but the

the knowledge, experience and fears of cancer they had. “I insisted on having the privacy I needed – I was still in shock for a long while. I told key colleagues that I was having an operation and would be off work for a few months and that I preferred not to discuss details just yet. Everyone was really respectful and it was nice to know that they cared about me.” There are more than 200 different types of cancer, each with their own name and specific treatment processes, making each individual’s experience

It’s crucial that employers have appropriate sickness policies in place to help retain staff who have been diagnosed with cancer. Rebecca Coaker

most important thing was that they tailored the support for both the individual and their families and all employees who were affected by caring or supporting her through the journey, “I really do not think they could have done anything more and certainly went above and beyond what was expected at the time.” Similarly, Christina Baronovitch, a PA administrator, who was diagnosed with cancer found her employer respected her right to privacy, while also increasing fundraising efforts and awareness within the office. She notes: “I think sometimes they were a bit clumsy in their approach – but on the whole, looking back I can see that they were doing their best with

different to others with a diagnosis, meaning employers need be flexible in their approach. By increasing awareness among a workforce and within the managerial team, employees will start to feel more comfortable expressing their symptoms, which will, in turn, help to get them the necessary help and advice. However, this unfortunately is not always the case. Damien Cominos, director of SPA Medical Services, who was diagnosed with cancer more than ten years ago, says: “In my opinion I didn’t receive any support because the cancer was the fourth episode of sickness in 12 months and, regardless of the reason, rather than using discretion there was an all-encompassing view that


Be sensitive to an employee’s needs

Respect an employee’s right to privacy

Be prepared to make adjustments

Check guidelines and policies

Find out about financial support options

Respect carers’ rights at work

Discuss a reasonable return-to-work plan

Recognise the impact on your team

Macmillan is here to help


the blanket sickness policy should be followed without deviation. Management training was not about using one’s own initiative but rather following protocol.” Having flexibility is key to supporting employees with a cancer diagnosis, as without this knowledge and training, staff members can sometimes feel ostracised. Cancer can have devastating affects on every individual involved, but by offering open communication lines and reasonable adjustments, such as flexible working hours, sickness policies or alterations to someone’s desk, the employee will feel much more comfortable in the working environment. “It’s important that line mangers have the skills and capability to help people. One thing they can do is to make sure they review their policies and processes – it’s crucial that employers have appropriate sickness absence policies in place to help retain employees who have been diagnosed with cancer,” Coaker continues. “It’s essential that they help line managers to understand those policies and that they might need to be flexible and interpret those policies flexibly to ensure they are assisting people.” Sharing details of a diagnosis as private as cancer requires a great deal of sensitivity, whereby both the employer and employee must work cohesively together to form a trusting relationship. More awareness will only ever result in a positive outcome, thus if every employer can implement policies and strategies to raise awareness of cancer in the workplace and offer support, never again will an employee with a cancer diagnosis feel isolated in their place of work. “Employers and employees should remember that more people survive cancer now, so the long-term outlook is that your valued employees will return to meaningful and productive work” Malcolm Cairns, chief executive of Harley Street Concierge, a company offering cancer support programmes, concludes. “This is very much a good news story and a chance for businesses to create real value in helping its team and their families when they need it the most. There is so much value attached to your existing workforce; they are irreplaceable and encouraging them back in the workplace is extremely important.”




A cutting edge conference centre 31 guest bedrooms Open all year round


MODERN Two grade listed houses Stunning grounds and gardens For hire at weekends and summer months


HISTORIC www.roehamptonvenues.co.uk

020 8392 3505


Make sure you secure your space to the show by registering at international-confex.com

INTERVIEW Don’t forget to stop by PA Life’s partner, Event Organisers Summit, on stand C50C

Heading to Confex? International Confex is returning, providing PAs, EAs and event organisers with all the latest the industry has to offer. Jade Burke speaks to event director, Liz Agostini, to find out why tech is at the heart of the event and how the addition of the ‘yellow brick road’ works

What’s new about this year’s event? The core values of International Confex remain the same year-on-year – the all-encompassing annual gathering of the events industry where event planners can discover, experience and be inspired by new ideas and innovations to create more memorable events. As always though, we like to surprise our visitors with a fresh experience every time. This year we’ve got the ‘yellow brick road’, an incentivised walkway around the show where visitors can use their ‘Confex passport’ to bag some great prizes and rewards, over 100 brand new exhibitors and a significantly magnified focus on London with the ‘Exclusively London’ and Unique Venues of London pavilion. Can you tell me more about the ‘Exclusively London’ pavilion? London event planners will be in their element on the ‘Exclusively London’ pavilion with a chance to meet a range of hand selected London venues, restaurants and hotels. At 11am each morning, the London Concierge, Emily Morbey will be holding Q&A sessions

International Confex offers a fantastic showcase of the tools that can make event planning easier and the venues that can give those events the ‘wow factor’.

with senior PA, EA event planners from Barclays, Facebook, Spotify and Allianz. This is a unique opportunity to gather insight on how to stay ahead of the curve with your event planning and hear what keeps these movers and shakers awake at night. Why is technology so important to the show this year? As in previous years, Confex will offer the largest array of event tech to be found at any show. As with all tech, the idea has to be that it makes the event planner’s life easier, more efficient and takes away some of the stress of getting tangled in endless spreadsheets and post-it notes. Are there any speaker sessions guests should bookmark? Absolutely. On the keynote theatre, the programme will revolve around themes of sustainability in the broadest sense, so apart from environmental concerns, the sessions will address topics including

CSR, accessibility, equality, diversity, inclusion and purpose. Omyague is a new addition this year. Can you tell us what this includes? The Omyague pavilion at The PA Show on the gallery showcases high-end corporate gifts for team-building, meetings, conferences, loyalty programmes and incentives. Top quality brands will be showing off their bespoke gifting collections and enable visitors to find gift ideas at prices they wouldn’t be able to secure elsewhere. Why should PAs attend the show? Event planning has always been a significant part of a PAs role, but we have noticed an increase in the complexity and scale of the events that they are organising. International Confex offers a fantastic showcase of the tools that can make event planning easier and the venues and destinations that can give those events the ‘wow factor’.



BRIGHTON An iconic seaside resort in its own right, Brighton has remained a thriving hub for business professionals thanks to its number of food outlets, day activities and bustling arts scene DRINK


The Bok Shop Priding itself on serving free range chicken, The Bok Shop offers a selection of home comforts for diners to feast on, including a chicken burger, homemade mash and buttermilk wings. Make sure you check out some of its homemade dips too. thebokshop.com


The Salt Room Seafood fans can rejoice at The Salt Room, thanks to its abundance of dishes that are all cooked over coal. Boasting views of the Brighton seafront and pier, diners can tuck into their meal while overlooking the iconic Brighton scenery. saltroom-restaurant.co.uk


Patterns Located opposite the Brighton pier, Patterns can offer guests the perfect spot to indulge in a menu of local and international beverages. Plus, the venue also has five flats above it, meaning you won’t have far to travel after one too many cocktails. patternsbrighton.com




Royal Pavilion Located in the centre of Brighton, the Royal Pavilion is a palace that was originally built for King George IV. Ideal for group bookings, the Pavilion can offer tours, cream teas and discounts for parties of 15 people or more. brightonmuseums.org.uk/ royalpavilion



British Airways i360 Climb aboard British Airways i360’s giant glass viewing pod and gain a bird’s-eye view of Brighton’s coastline. Ideal for group bookings, the bar inside can provide guests with a tipple or two during their flight that takes approximately 25 minutes. britishairwaysi360.com


Bar Valentino Bar Valentino boasts a cocktail list as long as your arm, where everything any cocktail-lover could want is available. With happy hour taking place from 5pm to 7pm on weekdays, make sure you head here with clients. barvalentino.co.uk


Jury’s Inn Brighton Just a stone’s throw from Brighton train station, Jury’s Inn Brighton is positioned in the heart of the city. Guests will get to take advantage of the hotel’s free wifi, en-suite bathrooms, plus business clients will have a choice of the nine meeting rooms. jurysinns.com


My Hotel My Hotel first opened in 2008 in Brighton as a bolthole for business and pleasure, and still remains a prominent venue for corporate guests. On-site, its meeting rooms boast natural daylight, wifi, AV and competitive pricing tiers. myhotels.com


The hotel booking platform for your workforce “Roomex has saved our team so much time and is a very efficient way for staff to book hotels” PA, Technology Company.

Roomex makes travel easy. Search, book, manage and pay for all your hotel bookings in one place. Roomex allows you access:

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Any hotel in the world. Real time financial reporting. Save 21% on workforce hotel-booking. Single monthly invoice.

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Contact: +44 20 7183 7737 roomex.com business@roomex.com

20-21 February 2019 Olympia, London

REVITALISE BUSINESS TRAVEL Europe’s largest specialised event for business travel professionals.




hosted buyers



pre-scheduled hosted buyer appointments

networking opportunities

Register for free at www.businesstravelshow.com Using code PAL19


Will you consider immersive dining for your next dinner outing? Let us know @PALifeMag

{Tried & tasted}

Immersive dining Paring fine dining with interactive experiences is a thrilling way to make an impression with clients, whether it’s through new technology or entertainment acts, you can’t fail. We highlight some culinary delights to help you make an impact

CIRCUS Covent Garden, London 020 7420 9300, circus-london.co.uk ----------------------------------------Expect an array of entertainment acts during your evening meal at Circus, where acrobats, fire-breathers and contortionists aim to delight and inspire. With something different on stage every evening, you will never find yourself disengaged. Inside, the restaurant can sit up to 140 diners, while for larger groups it can cater for 300 guests for cocktails and canapés. Circus is also available for private hire; whether it’s an evening reception or breakfast meeting and you’re looking for somewhere with a quirky atmosphere, this place fits the bill.

PARK CHINOIS Mayfair, London 020 3327 8888, parkchinois.com -------------------------------------------------------Described as ‘fine dining at its finest’ where nightly entertainment and live music fills the space, Park Chinois has maintained its position as a restaurant where guests can travel back to a time forgotten of cabaret and hedonism. Split over two levels, the ground floor known as Salon de Chine plays host to live singers all accompanied by musicians, while the lower ground floor – Club Chinois – offers sultry burlesque acts, dance and part physical-comedy. The menu boasts a variety of Chinese dishes with a progressive approach; the Park carbonara – an Asian twist on the classic Italian carbonara, is a particular hit with guests. In 2018, PA Life Club members got the opportunity to try this dish and experience all the restaurant has to offer. Thanks to its private dining rooms, Park Chinois is the perfect setting for any event seeking a thrilling atmosphere.

RESTAURANT STORY Tooley St, London 0207 183 2117, restaurantstory.co.uk ----------------------------------------Travel on a journey through food at the Michelin-star awarded Restaurant Story. Since its opening in April 2013, the venue’s chef has succeeded in providing guests with dishes that are an edible story, each of which have been inspired by a memory. Bespoke menus can be created for each booking, which will be curated with classic Restaurant Story dishes and new offerings, which often include snail ravioli, bread dripping and almond and dill. Meanwhile, the interior will not fail to impress any dinner party thanks to its dramatic wallpaper, extensive lighting and elaborate sculptures.

INAMO Camden, London 020 7851 7051, inamo-restaurant.com ----------------------------------------Dubbed one of the best restaurants serving up sushi in the City, Inamo is recognised for its varied cuisine, spanning Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Korean. Since its first site opening in 2008 (it boasts three locations in London), Inamo has introduced groundbreaking tech, including retro games, a live chef-cam feed and interactive projections on each table to allow guests to customise and set the mood for themselves. Diners are able to use the interactive tech to order their meal and choose a virtual tablecloth, while getting the option to play battleships before their dishes arrive.


WE CHALLENGE YOU, BE CURIOUS, ASK “WHAT IF...” IMEX in Frankfurt’s Talking Point for 2019 is ‘IMAGINATION’ and we’ll be celebrating and encouraging this innate aspect of our humanity. We’re challenging the global meetings and events industry to exercise more curiosity AND produce more worthwhile events as a result. Following in the footsteps of innovators and change-makers, IMEX in Frankfurt will guide you to ask “What if…” in three areas that could transform your future events strategy: TRANSFORMATION & COLLABORATION What if… unusual partners work together, not apart? DIVERSITY & INCLUSION What if… we intentionally include all kinds of people? SUSTAINABILITY What if… we are really committed to cutting down on waste?


IMAGINATION We challenge your curiosity!

Register now at imex-frankfurt.com/register

All the latest member news and gossip

Happy New Year to our loyal Club members

Proudly sponsored by



WHAT YOU MISSED… l Rother Valley and a A FAM trip to the blissfu Berkshire Conference glittering evening at the ed first month of 2019 Centre made for a pack

Despite the cold weather, Club members couldn’t resist a dip in the tub.

use Farm The Lodges at New Ho members for b Clu welcomed PA Life y. sta ble an unforgetta

Club members enjoyed an evening of networking and fantas tic food with the Berkshire Conferen ce Centre.

stadium ideal The Centre features a e hotel, -sit on an ys, for away da meeting spaces. catering and versatile

WELCOME TO THE CLUB This issue we’d like to welcome Jennifer Acheampong from The Telegraph, Lauren Lilliard from SMC – Design, Kathryn Hubbard from LAP, Patricia Munoz from TJX Europe, Jackie Bond from Rapid Transformation Therapy, Rachele Gale from BUPA and Sheridan Daley from Cogent.

Thoughts from the PA Life Club Sponsors: Nicky Brown, director, Arctic Fox Events “Sponsoring the PA Life Club has enabled Arctic Fox Events to connect and engage with an audience of potential clients. Giving us a platform to discuss venue finding and event management needs with individuals, the Club has allowed us to build personal relationships with its members, to socialise and to network with other sponsors. We look forward to working with and building long lasting relationships through the PA Life Club.” Paolo Macchiaroli, CEO and founder, My Private Villas “We are happy to sponsor the PA Life Club because PAs have a deep insight into the lives of their bosses and are often the best source of information. This makes our job more effective; the more we understand our clients, the more we can match them with a property. We look forward to working together.”


Matthew Ruff, sales and marketing director, Hyryde “We would like to thank you for having us as part of the sponsorship of the PA Life Club, and we are very much looking forward to supporting the Club and all its prestigious members with exceptional service.” David Clubb, MD, Tate “We are delighted with our continuing relationship with PA Life, as we both believe in supporting the development of PAs through their careers. This encompasses all the changes that constantly face the role and how to build on your multi-faceted skill base. I am delighted that Tate has partnered with the PA Life Club on this journey.” Yousaf Saleem, CEO, Mile5 Airport Transfer Solution “In a short time, the company has made its mark as one of the

leading, premium ground transfer companies in London. Being a PA Life Club sponsor has increased our projection in the corporate world. It is a perfect forum to stay connected with the people who make things happen.” Kunal Chauhan, consultant tailor, Suit the City “We are very excited to be sponsoring the PA Life Club. It has an incredible membership base, an expansive network of partners and we look forward to providing our unique service to the members and their colleagues.” Amy Hogarth, head of sales, TAG “TAG is delighted to be joining the PA Life family. As a travel management company with a reputation for delivering a highlevel of offline service, we deal with EAs and PAs on a daily basis. We are looking forward to exploring the opportunities with PA Life Club members and building new relationships.”

3 Get the VIP treatment with Odeon Cinemas


Odeon is inviting Club members to its Leicester Square venue this February 12, where they will be treated to a private screening of Mary Poppins. Upon arrival, guests will also be provided with cocktails and wine prepared on the balcony.


COMPETITION: THREE-COURSE MEAL AT INDIAN ACCENT This February, PA Life Club members will be given the chance to win a three-course meal with Indian Accent, as well as a bottle of wine. Located in Mayfair, London, the restaurant boasts dishes such as the soy keema with quail egg and lime leaf butter pao. To enter visit palifeclub.co.uk.


THINGS TO DO Networking, learning and things to keep in mind

Visit London’s Georgian House On March 7, Club members will be taken to the historic Georgian House, where a cheese afternoon tea and magical wizard cocktail experience will welcome them.



Access two free PA Life Masterclasses Are you attending the PA Show this February 26-27? It’s not too late to register to attend and access two free CPD accredited PA Life Masterclass sessions. To find out more details about how you can take advantage of this exclusive Club offer, contact Freddi Jackson on f.jackson@forumevents.co.uk.

Save money with Gordon Ramsay Restaurants

The famous restaurant is offering members the chance to save when they buy corporate gift vouchers to any of the 15 Gordon Ramsay locations in London. To take advantage, members can buy 10 gift vouchers and they will receive one on the restaurant, where members can choose from Michelin star tasting menus to gift vouchers, valid at all 15 Gordon Ramsay Restaurants. Find out more details at palifeclub.co.uk.




Work & life Since the television has always been a firm favourite for Beth Arzy, EA at Channel 4, a career within a broadcasting company was the perfect route for her. Here, she shares her thoughts on technology and what she’s currently binge-watching What inspired you to start a career as an assistant? I worked in the music industry back in Los Angeles in the late 90s and realised that I was an assistant in all but name. We only had a couple of PAs in the building and I was totally inspired by their grace and drive, which made me want to obtain the title of an assistant. How did you get your current job? I registered with a few agencies and had a few uninspiring and unsuccessful interviews before a small, London

of cogs and gears that make the machine run and it’s definitely the most diverse and fun place I’ve ever worked. I love our network of assistants as it’s such a great safety net to have. There’s no drama and help is always close at hand. Did you always want to work in the broadcasting industry? I started out in the music industry (broadcasting), but watched it slowly being eaten away and turned into something I didn’t want to be part of. I

I would love for older assistants to never have to worry that our days are numbered or that we’ll be replaced by machines.

agency took the time to get to know me and twigged that I was actually ‘Channel 4 material’.

grew up in America and the television was always my best friend, so working for a channel was a natural fit.

What’s the office like at Channel 4? Aesthetically, it’s a stunning building located between Victoria and Westminster, London. Inside, it’s friendly, warm and hard-working. There are a lot

Is there anything you’d like to see change within the PA community? I would love for older assistants to never have to worry that our days are numbered or that we’ll be replaced by

machines. I guess my biggest fear is not being an assistant – I love it. What would you say is having the biggest impact on assistants? I love technology, but it does mean that our bosses are getting more selfsufficient and depend on us in certain areas. We just have to prove that they can’t live without us. What TV shows are you currently watching at home? I’m a bit of a horror geek and have just watched all of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. You’re stranded on a desert island. What’s the one thing you just couldn’t live without? Sorry, obvious answer alert, a television.

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An annual subscription to PA Life is £25 (+VAT), contact Freddi Jackson on 01992 666720 to secure your copy now.

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All material in the publication is covered by copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise – whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher © 2018 Forum Events Media Ltd. While considerable care has been taken in the production of this issue, no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or omissions. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or equipment. All correspondence is assumed to be for publication unless clearly stated otherwise. Data protection statement: Readership information held by Forum Events may be shared with any member of Forum Events and associated brands for the purpose of marketing and publication. From time to time, providing the correct consent has been obtained by ourselves beforehand, we may share data with relevant third parties whose services we believe may be of value to you.


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The business travel issue; kick off your year with our round-up of travel specialists, from TMCs and chauffeur firms, to train lines and ven...


The business travel issue; kick off your year with our round-up of travel specialists, from TMCs and chauffeur firms, to train lines and ven...